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  1. #1
    david b's Avatar
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    6x9 Folding Cameras

    I am starting to think that I want a 6x9 camera and before I spend $1000 on a Fuji rangefinder, I am looking for advice on what else I should look at.

    So, let me hear it!!!

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Cameras like the Voigtlander Bessa II and the Zeiss Ikontas are the classics at the high end, but there are lots of neat folders for not too much money out there. Do a search and you should turn up a couple of threads on folders.

    Check out an eBay seller named Juergen Kreckel, who goes under the username "certo6." He buys and refurbishes old folders, and sells them at very reasonable prices.

    I've looked into those Fuji rangefinders, and they are just too big and bulky for what I want out of a 6x9 camera, though they are certainly good cameras with more modern focusing systems and lenses and most likely better film flatness than a 1950s folder. A folder will fit in an overcoat pocket. A Fuji 6x9 rangefinder is about the size of a brick.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
    Photography (not as up to date as the flickr site)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com/photo
    Academic (Slavic and Comparative Literature)--http://www.davidagoldfarb.com

  3. #3
    david b's Avatar
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    david...I was hoping you would respond. Thanks.

  4. #4
    Loose Gravel's Avatar
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    Also, Fuji 69s have no meter and, the strangest thing, the shutter is the loudest thing. What's with that?
    Watch for Loose Gravel

  5. #5
    MattCarey's Avatar
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    There was a thread in the last couple of months on cheap 6x9 folders. In the cheap range, the Mockba's are hard to beat if you can find a good one. Places like fedka.com work well.

    Personally, with that sort of money, I would have bought David Goldfarb's Bessa-II--before it went to eBay! A Bessa or another older folder might have what you need.

    David had an excellent point when he described why he was selling the Bessa. The camera takes better images than his alternate camera--on a tripod. But, he wanted the folder for walking around, where the advantages were lower.

    With that example: what do you see yourself doing with the camera? Walking around? Then a folder is a good buy. If you are doing more tripod work, how about a mini-speed graphic? You get to change lenses, and there are some really good ones there.

    Other options--Mamiya press or Koni-Omega.

    Matt

  6. #6
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    My problem with the Bessa may have just been me. I couldn't consistently hold it steady in the horizontal position. This had to do with the whole left-handed orientation and the shutter release on the door. I could have used a bracket with a release, but then it would be a bulky thing again. If the shutter release were on the top of the camera on the right side, it probably would have been fine. I tried various ways of holding the camera, and eventually it improved somewhat, but the ergonomics just didn't work for me.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  7. #7
    david b's Avatar
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    First, thanks all of you for this info.

    Second, I am looking for a landscape camera to use on a tripod. Rarely will it be handheld.

  8. #8
    MattCarey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by david b
    First, thanks all of you for this info.

    Second, I am looking for a landscape camera to use on a tripod. Rarely will it be handheld.
    Something like the Bessa might be good for you. Or, you could try a non-couple rangefinder type folder and save some money.

    Do you want to be able to change lenses? One thing about the old folders is that they typically have a fixed lens in the "normal" range (about 105mm for 6x9). May not be what you want for landscape work.

    Do you want to change backs? A folder leaves you limited to one film at a time. Of course, with some of the older folders, you could have a few of them for the cost of the Fuji.

    Take a look a the 2x3 graflex cameras. You could get a setup with multiple good lenses and backs for $1000 or less.

    Or, for the price of the Fuji, you could get a starter Linhoff 2x3 camera setup and add lenses and backs later.

    Matt

  9. #9
    MattCarey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb
    My problem with the Bessa may have just been me. I couldn't consistently hold it steady in the horizontal position. This had to do with the whole left-handed orientation and the shutter release on the door. I could have used a bracket with a release, but then it would be a bulky thing again. If the shutter release were on the top of the camera on the right side, it probably would have been fine. I tried various ways of holding the camera, and eventually it improved somewhat, but the ergonomics just didn't work for me.
    I don't think it is just you. I find the left-handed cameras are non-trivial to adapt to (at least for me).

    For what it's worth, the Mockba is also a left-handed camera. I can do OK with it as-designed, but I do better with a cable release curled around to my right hand. I don't think I will ever be really good with it.

    Matt

  10. #10
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loose Gravel
    Also, Fuji 69s have no meter and, the strangest thing, the shutter is the loudest thing. What's with that?
    I have one of these cameras - actually the shutter sound is normal (so no worries about vibration), but the quite considerable noise seems to come from the double-exposure prevention device kicking in. A bit like the Bessa cameras - shutter normal, but a lot of noise from the metering baffle in front of the shutter getting out of the way!

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